Jeff Clement Rumors

Taking Stock Of Seattle’s Trade Chips

The Mariners are in the playoff hunt with a 46-42 record, though many expected them to be sellers this month. As Gregg Bell of the AP reports, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and trade candidate Jarrod Washburn say they want to keep the team together and attempt to win now.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times says the Mariners "seem destined to make some trades" this month and offers up some trade candidates:
  • Miguel Batista – Baker says it makes sense to move Batista, who makes $3.3MM before the end of the year. He could offset salary coming to Seattle.
  • Relievers Sean White and Mark Lowe would atract interest and the Mariners may feel they have enough depth to part with one of them, especially with prospect Phillippe Aumont on his way.
  • Unless the Mariners fall from contention, Baker suggests it makes sense to hold Erik Bedard, whose value is limited because of his time on the DL.  
  • Dealing Jarrod Washburn is a "no-brainer" if the M's fall out of it.  
  • Brandon Morrow, Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement could all be moved as well.

Twins Showing Interest In Jarrod Washburn

TUESDAY, 7:37pm: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that the Twins have "lost their appetite for a Jarrod Washburn trade."  It probably had something to do with his $10.35MM ’09 salary.

MONDAY, 8:49pm: According to John Hickey of the Seattle Post-Intellegencer, the Twins have "some interest" in dealing for left-hander Jarrod Washburn.

Hickey writes that the Mariners and Twins discussed a deal last week that would have sent Washburn and catcher Jeff Clement to Minnesota for 23-year-old outfielder Delmon Young.  It’s not known whether that particular deal fell through, but it’s likely.  The pieces just don’t seem to fit.  Washburn, 34, went 5-14 last season with a 4.69 ERA and the Twins already have a young, All-Star catcher.

The M’s are trying to dump some cash in order to make a play for one of the remaining free agent outfielders and would accomplish the feat if they can move Washburn, who’s set to rake in $10.35MM this year.  They’ve shown interest in Bobby Abreu, Garret Anderson and Ken Griffey Jr. so far this offseason.

Looking Beyond Varitek

According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, a slew of catchers are being shopped to the Red Sox.  Among them: Jeff Mathis, Mike Napoli, Brian Schneider, Miguel Montero, John Buck, Ramon Hernandez, Bengie Molina, Carlos Santana, Kelly Shoppach, Victor Martinez, Jesus Flores, Kenji Johjima, Jeff Clement, Yorvit Torrealba, and the Rangers’ guys.  Silverman says the Braves, Cardinals, and Rays also have catchers available.  It seems that teams are asking for players like Justin Masterson, Clay Buchholz, or Lars Anderson in some cases.

On the Jason Varitek front, Scott Boras told the AP yesterday that he’s had no financial discussions with the Red Sox.  He expects the matter to be discussed after Thanksgiving.  Curt Schilling commented last week about Varitek possibly playing fewer games in 2009, but Boras shot down the idea of a reduced role.

Red Sox Rumors: Crisp, Lugo, Burnett, Baldelli

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the latest on the Red Sox.

  • GM Theo Epstein says there’s one deal he might be able to do before the winter meetings, possibly involving Coco Crisp or Julio Lugo.  The free agent market for center fielders and shortstops is weak this year.
  • Cafardo doesn’t believe the Sox are in on C.C. Sabathia or A.J. Burnett, and he says they’re unsure about Derek Lowe.  However, Buster Olney says "there is an expectation within other quarters of the AL East that the Red Sox will get in on the Burnett bidding."  Cafardo does see Boston adding a starter of some kind, possibly a Japanese free agent.
  • Catchers on Epstein’s radar to varying degrees: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, Jeff Clement, Bengie Molina, and Ivan Rodriguez.
  • Cafardo says the Red Sox are "more than intrigued" by Rocco Baldelli, who could fill their fourth outfielder role if and when Mark Kotsay leaves.
  • Tony Massarotti discusses Mark Teixeira in-depth at his blog.

Olney’s Latest: Nady, Delgado, Clement, Lofton

Buster Olney has some thoughts. Let’s have a looksee.

  • He thinks that Xavier Nady could fit with the Mets or the Indians, but notes that the Pirates are sitting tight for now, hoping to compete this year. They’ll be singing a different tune in July.
  • Olney goes on to speculate that the Mets could release Carlos Delgado if he continues his weak hitting. Nady would seem a decent replacement, though he hasn’t played first since 2006. Scott Hatteberg could be another option.
  • In what he calls "pure speculation," Olney suggests that the Mariners trade Jeff Clement to the Red Sox for Coco Crisp and some pitching. It’s a rather vague trade idea, and I’d think that the Mariners could fetch a lot more than Crisp if they opted to trade Clement, who is having his way with AAA pitching.
  • It appears Jake Peavy wants the Padres to sign Kenny Lofton. With the way Jim Edmonds and Scott Hairston are hitting, I can’t blame him.

Posted by Joe Pawlikowski.

Kenji Johjima Signs Extension

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Mariners will give catcher Kenji Johjima a three-year extension.  That’d keep him with the team through 2011, his age 35 season.   It’s worth three years and $24MM – no kind of discount.

I didn’t see this coming; I thought the Ms would hand catching duties over to Jeff Clement in ’09 despite questionable defense.  Instead, they’ll apparently use him as a DH/1B or trade him.  He’s hitting .375/.500/.688  in 19 Triple A games.

Here’s a look at the remaining free agent catchers after this season.  Ivan Rodriguez and Jason Varitek head the class.

Latest On Bedard/Mariners Talks

John Hickey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer jumps into the Erik Bedard fray with some new info.  Connecting a few dots – I’m speculating here – it seems possible that the Mets could move to the forefront on Bedard as the Mariners fade.  If the Mets pony up Fernando Martinez and some decent pitching depth, maybe Andy MacPhail would go for it.

  • Hickey says that with Adam Jones returning to action in Venezuela, "the Mariners have may given up on acquiring Bedard."
  • Nonetheless, according to Hickey, the Orioles "appear to be looking at" the Mariners’ Chris Tillman and Carlos Triunfel
  • The Orioles originally wanted Brandon Morrow, but that seems unlikely.  Hickey adds that Jeff Clement "may be off the table for the moment, too."  Clement didn’t seem to make a ton of sense for Baltimore anyway.

Erik Bedard Rumors

Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider dug up "a few fresh nuggets" regarding the Erik Bedard trade discussions.

  • The Mariners reportedly offered Adam Jones, Jeff Clement, and George Sherrill for Bedard.  Seems the Orioles want Brandon Morrow or Carlos Triunfel instead of Clement.  One source of Churchill’s believes the Mariners would be more inclined to buckle and surrender Morrow than Triunfel.  It’s even possible that the Orioles gave the Mariners a "final counteroffer" including one of the two and will move on if it’s rejected.
  • Many Mariners fans believe Bedard is not even worth Jones straight up, so imagine how they’ll feel if the Orioles extract significantly more.
  • The Orioles still want Jay Bruce from Cincinnati; otherwise they would ask for a ridiculous package of pretty much everyone else worth discussing in the Reds’ farm system.

Erik Bedard Rumors: Mariners, Reds, Indians

Erik Bedard staying put in Baltimore this winter?  Maybe not.  Ken Rosenthal and Jason Churchill both busted out brand new material this evening with the latest Bedard chatter.  The upshot is that the Mariners seem to have a decent shot at him.

  • Rosenthal says the Mariners will put Adam Jones, Jeff Clement, and Matt Tuiasosopo in the deal.  He indicates that the Orioles could push to substitute and get one of Tony Butler, Chris Tillman, and Carlos Triunfel.  Looks like Bill Bavasi is sticking to the idea of keeping Brandon Morrow.  Rosenthal hedges his bets, but admits to "growing indications that the teams could be moving closer to a deal."
  • Churchill says something similar: the Mariners and Orioles "may very well be making significant progress."  Churchill sees a package of Jones, Triunfel, and George Sherrill as the likely scenario. 
  • Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein recently listed his Top 11 Prospects for the Mariners.  Clement was a five-star, Tillman and Triunfel four-stars, Butler a two-star, and Tuiasosopo an honorable mention.  Jones would be first were he still considered a prospect.
  • Both Ohio teams have interest in Bedard as well, but a trade to the Indians or Reds seems less likely.  The Reds still won’t give up Jay Bruce.

Pirates Rumors: Snell, Estrada, Villone

John Perrotto had some new Pirates’ rumblings in yesterday morning’s column.

  • Don’t be so quick to dismiss the Ian Snell to Seattle rumor.  Perrotto acknowledges it, noting that the Mariners would offer Jeff Clement but the Pirates would probably require Adam Jones
  • Perrotto believes the Pirates have backed off their pursuit of Johnny Estrada, though Dejan Kovacevic hasn’t heard this. I never thought Estrada made much sense for them.
  • Perrotto says the Pirates have an eye on free agent lefty Ron Villone, who pitched for them back in ’02.